Oddball idea could be just the ticket for scuba divers

Are you a scuba diver? Fancy making a little extra cash on the side?

Well, we have the solution - golf balls.

Richard Noonan, owner of Encore Golf Balls, is looking to hire a scuba diver to mine lost balls from Ireland's lakes.

The unusual job, advertised online this week, is for someone willing to take the plunge into the depths of Ireland's golf-course lakes and rivers, and retrieve the "thousands" of golf balls sitting on the bottom.

If that sounds like a strange idea, consider that Noonan's company has been running for a year already, sourcing balls from a Spanish diving crew that does the same thing there.

Apart from being eco-friendly, the recovery of balls that have only been hit once or twice is very cost-effective.

"So, for example, the best ball is the Pro V1 ... in shops, it's be €94-95 for 24 balls," Noonan said.

The recycled balls, however, come in at about €47 - and that's with the added cost of contracting a foreign company.

"Why get someone to do it in Spain when you can do it here cheaper?" Noonan asked, envisioning a lower cost by running the entire process locally.

Having already secured permission from two courses in the west of Ireland, he plans to run the diving work on a trial basis initially - adding some casual labour for enthusiastic divers - to see how much work exists "before I see if it's full-time".

He is, however, convinced there are thousands of balls to be mined, as many courses spend years, or up to a decade, before they clear out their water obstacles.

He is looking for experienced divers - ideally instructors and other full-time professional looking for extra income - and the idea has already sparked plenty of interest.

"I've got about 15 applicants so far," he said. "They're all qualified" - something which he admits surprises him, as he put up the advert hoping for interest, rather than expecting it.

But with the combination of environmentally-friendly recycling, offering a cheaper alternative product, and employing a niche skill, Richard might just have a hole-in-one.

Interested? You can view the original ad and apply online here.

By Dave Molloy

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